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Shipping industry calls for increased pressure on Gulf of Guinea pirates following exchange of fire with Danish navy

29 November 2021

International shipping organisation BIMCO  calls for continued naval support in the Gulf of Guinea following an incident between a suspected pirate vessel and the Danish Navy on 24 November 2021.

According to Danish Armed forces, the incident resulted in four pirates being killed and one injured in an altercation between a suspicious vessel and the Danish navy.

The shooting took place on the night of 24 November after the Danish frigate, Esbern Snare was responding to reports of increased piracy off Nigeria. After the motorboat was spotted, they pursued the vessel firing warning shots. It was then the pirates opened fire directly on the Danish soldiers; none were injured, and the pirates boat sank after the incident.

The eight pirates were taken aboard the frigate Esbern Snare, where the injured man was treated for his injuries.

CEO of Danish Shipping, Anne H. Steffensen, who saw the initial send-off of the Esbern Sanre to the Gulf of Guinea in October, said: 'I am deeply grateful that the pirates were apprehended in time, and that our deployed soldiers with Esbern Snare performed their duty of safeguarding the crew onboard our vessels.

'We have always said that the Gulf of Guinea is the world's most dangerous water, and the situation of last night stresses the seriousness of the situation here. There is definitely a need for the presence of the Danish soldiers, and even though it may sound tough: piracy comes with a price.'

BIMCO's head of maritime security and safety, Jakob Larsen said: 'We hope this incident will have a deterrent effect on pirate groups considering attacking shipping in the Gulf of Guinea. For too long Niger Delta based pirate groups have been allowed to operate almost unhindered in the world's number one piracy hotspot: The Eastern Gulf of Guinea. We continue to call for all naval forces in the area to further increase the pressure against the pirate groups and act with determination and in accordance with international law.'

Denmark is not the only country to intervene in the Gulf; earlier in November an Italian warship disrupted a pirate attack on a tanker, and in October a Russian warship chased off a pirate group attacking a containership. The UK also announced in mid-October that it would deploy a naval vessel as well as a contingent of Royal Marines to the Gulf of Guinea to help fight piracy in the region.

Both Danish Shipping and BIMCO have taken leads in calling for international support to fight piracy in the Gulf through the launch of the Gulf of Guinea declaration earlier this year.

The Gulf of Guinea still remains an area of high risk to seafarers, as outlined in the International Maritime Bureau's report for Q3 of 2021.